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Dust mites. They’ve been climbing to the top of the trend health topics over the years and preventiveproducts are popping up left and right. But what are these elusive critters? We know they’ve beenlinked to dust allergies through a multitude of highly scientific research studies. Okay, got that. Butwhat are they? Can we see them? Are they more like an ant or a spider or a giraffe? Well after someresearch and digging through a stack of articles loaded down with complex biology terms, here is thelow-down on the creature causing red itchy eyes and sniffles across the globe. Amazingly enough, the dust mite is an extremely primitive creature that has beenfound in fossils over 28 million years old! Even more amazing, it is only about ¼ to1/3 of a millimeter in length. Without the invention of the microscope, we’d never even know they were there. As a member of the arachnid order, the dust miteshares some relation to the spider with its 8 legs but that is about where the similar-ities end.Dust mitesare primitive to the point that they have no developed systems. That means no respira-tory, digestive, and other various systems we take for granted. Somehow, without all these things,they do manage to enjoy a life span of 2 to 4 months simply moving, eating, and creating wasteproducts. At some point during that awfully busy schedule they do find time to reproduce – the fe-male lays an average of 100 eggs in her lifetime.They have virtually no ‘native’ habitat and are found in ever continent besides Antarctica. While wecan’t blame them for skipping over the icy tundra, there is a scientific reason they cannot survivethere. Dust mites can live almost everywhere but they really thrive under certain temperature andhumidity conditions. Ideally they’d prefer their habitats to range between 68°F and 77°F and havethe humidity be 70%-80%. However, they’re able to live through everything but very low humidityand extreme temperatures. So penguins of Antarctica, rest assured that you will not have dust miteallergens. Now as for the rest of us in the world…While they are not considered parasites, dust mites’ main food source is our skin. More precisely,the 1.5 grams of dead skin cells we naturally shed each day. That alone will feed around 1 millionmites and there is not much we can do to control the shedding. Now how can these skin cell vacuumcleaners be considered a threat to our health and cause so much trouble?Surprisingly thedust mitesharm us through their waste products and decomposing bodies, notthrough their actual contact with us. Scientists have determined that there is a certain protein con-tained in their waste that sparks an allergy attack within humans, dogs, cats, and even birds. Over their short life time, dust mites will produce over 200 times their body weight in waste and then go onto die and have that same protein manifest itself in their decomposing bodies.